You’re fully present in the moment. You feel the mat beneath your feet and you’re conscious of the air filling your lungs as you breathe in and out.You shift into warrior pose, sensing the movement of your muscles. You feel strong and focused; your body and mind are working together in harmony. As you move into triangle pose, you’re aware of how your body stretches and are amazed at your strength and flexibility. You relax into hero pose and notice the stiffness in your body melt away. As your yoga session ends, you feel energized and grounded, ready to face the challenges of the day.
That is the power of yoga, the ancient art over 5,000 years old used by people everywhere to feel more relaxed and centered. From upscale studios to free classes at the community center, yoga has made a modern comeback and the practice is on the rise. For many, yoga is a sanctuary of balance and quiet relaxation that can be accessed at any time. By clearing your mind and focusing on your breath, yoga invites a calming, meditative state that helps you feel more in tune with yourself. As more people catch on to the benefits of yoga, we are even beginning to see it appear more as a complementary or alternative therapy in medical fields such as physical therapy and pain management.
Over the years, yoga has also become an important tool in addiction medicine for helping patients learn how to be present in the moment and let go of negative thoughts or feelings through physical activity. By utilizing a conscious, mindful approach to yoga, the body’s movements can help patients develop trust in themselves and regain their personal strength. The goal is to encourage a sense of purpose and presence while rebuilding the mind-body connection for a complete healing experience.
WHAT IS YOGA?
Yoga is a system of well-being for improving one’s physical, mental and spiritual health. It teaches strengthening and stretching poses, breath control and simple meditation to calm the mind and promote greater self-awareness. Yoga is extremely diverse, with numerous styles and variations used by people everywhere to improve their quality of life. In addiction medicine, yoga is being used increasingly as an alternative treatment to complement more traditional modalities, such as individual therapy or 12-step programs. Yoga helps patients learn to let their bodies and minds work together in positive ways, providing numerous benefits.
JOURNEY HILLSIDE TARZANA
At Journey Hillside Tarzana, we incorporate yoga into our signature services to teach patients how to access a peaceful inner state in which they can manage the stressors of recovery whenever the need arises.
Through the use of breathing exercises, controlled postures and relaxation techniques, yoga promotes holistic rejuvenation that helps one feel calm and grounded. For individuals struggling with addiction, this creates a sense of balance and regulation they likely haven’t felt in a long time, providing a foundation of strength and resilience on which to build sustainable recovery.
YOGA IN RECOVERY
Addiction recovery isn’t an easy process. Sometimes, it can be difficult to stay focused and remember why you’re here. Staying on track requires large reserves of energy, patience and persistence. When you’re feeling mentally depleted, your resolve may waver and you can lose your commitment to the program. Yoga helps patients to stay focused in recovery and is often seen as the perfect complement to traditional recovery and 12-step programs. When patients are practicing yoga, they’re engaged in a self-care activity that can replenish the strength they need to keep going forward. By taking the time to slow down and process their thoughts, yoga can help patients manage challenging situations and work through difficult emotions.
Patients who practice yoga regularly also learn how to reconnect with themselves. Addiction often makes people feel disconnected from their bodies. As substance use takes over, it becomes more difficult to function without drugs or alcohol and a schism forms between the mind and body. Yoga helps to heal this gap by providing a quiet mental space in which one can reflect and connect with their true self.
During this time, patients are able to listen to their inner voice and what it’s saying. Are you living the life you really want? What brings you joy? Are you surrounded by people who love and support you? Is anything holding you back from achieving happiness and freedom from substance use? It can be challenging to ask these questions, but finding out the answers can clear the way to long-term, sustainable recovery. By focusing on the self, patients can attain a greater degree of self-awareness that helps them rediscover their goals and how to use them to move forward in treatment.
BENEFITS OF YOGA
As a physical and spiritual activity, yoga provides numerous benefits
Yoga promotes flexibility, strength and adaptability, as well as a sense of purpose and balance. These qualities can help patients in recovery manage difficult or unexpected situations and see setbacks or disappointments from a new perspective. Yoga also supports patients throughout treatment by helping them stay focused on their goals while facilitating holistic healing, self-discovery and inner growth. Those who practice yoga are often surprised by the variety of ways in which it improves their mental, physical and spiritual health.
MENTAL BENEFITS OF YOGA
Yoga promotes a greater degree of mindfulness and mental well-being by providing the space to reflect and reconnect with the inner self. This awareness helps patients to understand their substance use disorder and the effect it has on the mind and body. The relaxing, stress-reducing aspect of yoga has also been shown to improve the symptoms of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and PTSD by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. This has proven beneficial for patients in all stages of treatment but is especially helpful for those in detox or early recovery. During this time, traces of drugs or alcohol often linger in the body and may cause mental distress, imbalances or uncomfortable side effects. Incorporating yoga into recovery helps alleviate these symptoms and gives patients the tools they need to move past them.
PHYSICAL BENEFITS OF YOGA
As a low impact exercise, yoga is a great way to re-introduce patients to healthy physical activity. Yoga can be adapted for patients regardless of their fitness level to ensure that they feel at ease and comfortable with the experience. As patients become stronger and more confident, our experienced instructors can introduce advanced poses and techniques. The goal is to make yoga a part of each patient’s daily or weekly routine and provide a moderate challenge that encourages growth. When practiced regularly, yoga has been shown to significantly reduce stress, lower inflammation, reduce chronic pain or discomfort, increase strength and enhance flexibility. Yoga can also improve one’s posture, balance and sleep quality. The overall effect is to teach patients in recovery to listen to their bodies and rediscover healthy movement and activities.
SPIRITUAL BENEFITS OF YOGA
At its core, yoga is a spiritual practice that emphasizes the unity of the mind, body and spirit. Yoga promotes improved self-awareness, inner peace and a connection to the divine. What this means is different for every individual — yoga is not a religion and has flourished across cultures, countries and beliefs. Yoga is simply a way for people to look inward and become aware of themselves on a deeper level. This awareness is often transformative, allowing patients to find meaning, purpose and harmony. When we explore our inner selves, patients can analyze the things they value most and what they hope to get out of the recovery experience.
SPECIALTY HOLISTIC TRACK AT JOURNEY HILLSIDE TARZANA
Yoga is often seen as the perfect complement to traditional addiction recovery. To provide our patients with the most effective treatment modalities and strategies for healing, yoga is integrated into our signature residential services as well as our holistic specialty program. The Holistic Track at Journey Hillside Tarzana incorporates Eastern approaches to recovery, providing patients with alternative therapies and more advanced yoga, mindfulness and meditation techniques.
The goal is to provide comprehensive healing that encompasses a patient’s entire being by focusing on how mental, spiritual and physical wellness are related. Guided by the concept of self-knowledge and self-awareness, patients will delve into the roots of their addiction and learn how to process their thoughts, ideas and emotions productively. The holistic treatments we offer are used in conjunction with traditional modalities.
ADDICTION AFFECTS MUCH MORE THAN JUST THE BODY
We understand that addiction affects much more than just the body, so our holistic treatments are designed to address the mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions of an individual. Patients in the Holistic Track will become mindful of themselves, their motivations and their desires so they can begin to move past their addiction.
CONTACT JOURNEY HILLSIDE TARZANA
Yoga is much more than simple stretches and poses. Yoga is a holistic, supplemental treatment that has been shown to help patients in recovery achieve higher degrees of self-awareness and be present in the moment.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with drugs or alcohol, our passionate team of clinicians and specialists can develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses the totality of your substance use disorder. Contact or call us today at 877-414-1024 to learn more about our programs and how they can help.